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goniurellia tridens

By Ariana Benson

a week before I left the sinking city, I read
about a fruit fly with decoy ants on its wings—
an evolutionary adaptation, bred
evidence of what happens when a species clings

so desperately to life that it makes for itself
a skin of bodies no predator will touch
for fear of finding, instead of nourishment, death:
yes, even the most murderous among us clutch

each breath, as if we know our demand for life
overwhelms earth’s supply. maybe my skin has made me
seem comfortable with dying, with living knife
to throat. and yes, I watched from dry land as a bee

drowned in silence, or sound I couldn’t hear, but I felt,
I swear. I wept inside at the hand we’d both been dealt.




Listen as Ariana Benson readsgoniurellia tridens.”

Added: Wednesday, July 5, 2023  /  Used with permission.
Ariana Benson
Photo by Floyd Benson.

Ariana Benson was born in Norfolk, Virginia. Her manuscript, Black Pastoral, won the 2022 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and is forthcoming from University of Georgia Press in September 2023. Benson has also received the Furious Flower Poetry Prize, the Porter House Review Poetry Prize, and the 2021 Graybeal Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, Ploughshares, Poem-a-Day, Copper Nickel, and Colorado Review. Benson is a proud alumna of Spelman College and will receive her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis in 2024. Through her writing, she strives to fashion vignettes of Blackness that speak to its infinite depth and richness.

Image Description: Ariana Benson, a Black woman with curly hair pulled back and a braid falling on her cheek, sits in front of a window with closed white blinds. She is visible from the neckline up, and is wearing a yellow dress, earring, and gold necklace.

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